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Published: February 15, 2022

Written by: Stoyan Todorov

  • Geopolitics result in the banning of dozens of apps from the Indian market
  • New Delhi’s reason given is privacy and national security concerns
  • Esports in the country will be affected negatively by the decision

India continues to ban Chinese apps, with over 50 titles being struck in the latest batch, including popular mobile games like Free Fire.

India Bans Many Chinese Apps

Being some of the most prominent players in Asia when it comes to geopolitics, India and China have for a long time had competed for dominance in the global market. This often extends the two countries placing embargos and bans on different items or services offered by the other. This time it seems it is India’s turn as the country recently banned 54 Chinese apps, which include Tencent’s Xriver and Garena’s Free Fire.

This type of banning is nothing new, as India has banned over 300 titles since mid-2020. Often the reason for this is the national security concerns the Indian government is having over its north-eastern neighbor. Other times applications like Sweet Selfie HD, Beauty Camera, Viva Video Editor, AppLock, and Dual Space Lite are being barred from public use because they are clones or rebrands of other titles.

“On receipt of the interim order passed under Section 69A of the IT Act, following established process, we have notified the affected developers and have temporarily blocked access to the apps that remained available on the Play Store in India,” a Google spokesperson said Monday.

How Geopolitics Impact Gamers?

One of the most popular applications that were hit when India’s ban-hammer fell down recently, was Garena’s Free Fire: Illuminate. With over 40 million of its 75 million global monthly active users in January coming from India, the Sea-owned battle royale loses over half of its player base.

Naturally, Garena’s team in India did not receive the news well. The team was after deals with tournament organizations to further promote its game and attract more users and high-profile gamers in the country. Free Fire was supposed to have a tournament in India soon, but it seems it is now canceled. With the game’s banning, a lot of the professional teams will probably be dissolved. This includes Team Liquid’s India roster, which they recently signed.

India is the largest market globally by app installs with an estimated over 25 billion downloads last year according to App Annie. One of the most popular applications that suffered bans was TikTok. With the country refusing to revoke its ban on the app, TikTok’s parent company ByteDance released many of its India-based employees and recently shut down its tech business in the country according to TechCrunch.

It is unknown if there will be reconciliation between the Chinese companies and the Indian government, and if at least some of the apps will return in the near future. However, both player privacy and a whole sector of entertainment are at stake during these disputes.

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